The Mast-Head: Honoring the Uniform

Service in the armed forces is as much a part of life in this small town as any other

   East Hampton Main Street will be strangely silent Monday morning. For a brief hour the hissing rumble of a three-day weekend’s traffic will cease as a modest line of veterans assemble to parade north toward Hook Mill and the war memorial.
    The mill, which has just this year been put back to rights after a long restoration, will stand by mutely. The veterans will be joined by members of our local fire departments, ambulance volunteers, and police, each dressed in their best uniforms, for a ceremony honoring this place’s war dead. Time, like Main Street’s relentless hum, will seem to stop.
    For visitors and weekenders, East Hampton may not seem the kind of place that has contributed its sons and daughters to the United States military. But if they would take the time to walk in one of its cemeteries or stand at one of the several monuments and read the names on them, they would see that c.
    Recent wars have produced new veterans. Some will walk in Monday’s parade; others are still serving at bases across the country or in overseas deployment. East Hampton’s young men and women have come under fire in Iraq and Afghanistan, even as these engagements end and fade from the news.
    East Hampton’s war dead will be recalled Monday. So too, should the community think of and honor those remaining in the military that day. The names are familiar. Among them, Matthew Behan is in the Marines. Two members of the DePetris family are in the Army. Drew Forsberg is a Navy Seal, as are several other local young men. Ryan Burke is an Army engineer. Francis S. Gay is in the Air Force. Richard McMahon is a member of the Army National Guard. The list of those from here in service to the country today is long.
    Monday, as the traffic stops, it will be these young men and women who, for me, come to mind.